One of the most deeply engaged efforts of the Othering & Belonging Institute, potentially the most impactful, is the development of a network of social justice organizations, leaders, advocates, academics, and policymakers.
The transformative change we seek is beyond the capacity or resources of any individual institution or organization. Such change is beyond the resources and capacities of similarly-situated institutions and their allies. The change we seek requires an alignment that will leverage our collective capacities for greater coherence and scale. A network that can mobilize a broad constituency and scale up to address intractable and enduring problems provides the collaborative structure to realize these goals.
A network is a platform for advocacy, deeper than a coalition, but more dynamic and flexible than an organization. It has the potential to support and connect interdisciplinary and inter-sector relationships at multiple levels—local, regional, national, international—towards shared goals.
The Network for Transformative Change is fundamentally about building relationships, bringing people and organizations together, and developing robust connections for impact.
In 2014, three convenings attracted dozens of thought and action leaders. These convenings sought to gain the input and commitment from leading organizations, academics, and leaders across sectors and movements for the bold network vision.
Olivia Araiza, who was hired in 2014 to manage the Network, is working with leaders in multiple social movement areas to surface synergistic opportunities among a multi-sector grouping of partners.
One aspect of the work will entail mapping the terrain of our interest and issue areas against our vision and aspirations for a society centered around belonging. By visualizing our complex networks and overlaying our various approaches and strategies for addressing common issues, we can pinpoint possibilities that we might have overlooked or surface new opportunities for greater alignment.
Concurrently, the Network is continuing its work to bring together leading grassroots and academic experts to examine the intersections among issues facing marginalized communities and our responses to them. While our critical analysis of these areas is important, all of our work is happening with an eye on surfacing game-changing strategies and new applications of our research and policy analysis to deliver powerful levers for change.
With growing momentum behind the efforts of the Network, we are seeking ways to bolster our movement infrastructure and catalyze greater alignment through deeper partnerships, new insights, and collaborative endeavors that prioritize new, multi-sector approaches and shared risk-taking.